Apr 17

I’ll let my successor deal with this

The most excellent Arthur Page Society Spring Conference was chockablock this year with great speakers.Awp
One, in particular, was Rick DeLisi of the Communications Executive Council (CEC).

Rick analyzed the rapidly-changing landscape and shared his views on how organizations are changing the way they communicate. Most, he said, are moving towards knowledge sharing. It’s no longer a ‘top down, here’s what management thinks and wants you to think’ strategy. Rather, the communications model is quickly evolving towards the market deciding what it thinks and wants, and organizations struggling to keep pace.

The good news: the corporate communications functions will be at the epicenter of facilitating knowledge sharing. The bad news: most corporate communicators interviewed by the CEC admitted they’d made absolutely no change to adapt to this changing environment.

The CEC questionnaire provided multiple choices, including: ‘greater centralization of your function,’ ‘deeper integration in marketing,’ ‘change in hiring profile,’ ‘change in function’s reporting line,’ ‘greater decentralization of communication’s staff and resources,’ or ‘deeper structural integration with human resources.’

But, the corporate communications types overwhelmingly selected ‘no change.’ Are they whistling past the graveyard? Fiddling while Rome burns?

I think the answer may be more basic. Guessing that most senior corporate communicators are well into their middle age, I wonder if they feel adapting to change will be their successor’s headache? Most are nearing retirement, are probably in comfortable positions and may not want to rock the boat.

I really hope I’m wrong. But the CEC findings speak for themselves. Let’s hope for everyone’s sake the respondents’ fast-track successors are as swift as the adjective suggests.

Apr 15

You did just fine, Mr. Mayor

Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch was the dinner speaker for Arthur Page Society’s spring Conference.Koch
As we wolfed down our meals, Koch regaled listeners with one anecdote after another, demonstrating a sharp wit and full grasp of the current political climate.

When asked to reflect on his time as mayor and point to his greatest accomplishment, Koch didn’t hesitate in responding, "I believe I gave New Yorkers back their pride." And, he did. The New York City Ed Koch inherited was a total mess. It was bankrupt, riddled with crime and struggling to forestall corporate and private citizens alike from heading across the Hudson.

Koch turned all that around with his ‘can do’ attitude, workmanlike approach and obvious pride in the city. He made us feel good about New York’s image and reputation as he and his successors literally rebuilt the city from the ground up. Today, New York City is THE place to be for so many different segments and strata of society. Would it be that way if Koch hadn’t been mayor at exactly the right point in time? Perhaps, but I doubt it.

Koch’s trademark was to ask average New Yorkers how he was doing. The voters responded in no uncertain terms by reelecting him. And we Page members did the same thing with our standing ovation on Thursday night. You’re doing just fine, Mr. Mayor. Just fine.